This article explores how we make sense of identity in situations of dynamic complexity. It contributes to debates on how dynamic complexity, conceived as periods of heightened uncertainty, disrupts the balance between acting and thinking that is constitutive of sensemaking. The article follows narratives of adult learners (including the first author) aspiring to become academically trained coaches within an emerging industry. We examine dynamic complexity in terms of individuals relating to multiple contexts (e.g. biographical, learning and industry) arguing that each of these creates varying degrees of complexity as individuals relate to a multitude of others within them. We show that heightened uncertainty resulting from such complexity makes greater demands on identity work. This involves both failure (more persistent intransigence of identity) and success (transience of identity). We suggest a mediating role for
relationality and reflexivity in making sense of identity as they offer a balance between acting and thinking. By exploring professional identity work of the first author in relation to the participants we explicate the intersubjective nature of identity work and sensemaking. The contribution we make is to theorize identity work as intersubjectively conducted.
Koning, JMoore, L
Faculty of Business\Department of Business and Management
RADAR: Research Archive and Digital Asset RepositoryAbout RADAR